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My best friend is an Alcoholic

Having a quiet drink after work with a couple of semi sensible drinking buddies can be the best way to escape the day's stress and bond. However, some of our friends might begin to cross the line. At first, it might look like binge drinking/ "stress" drinking, but as time goes by, you might notice some unusual patterns in their lives. If it ever gets to this stage, your best friend already has an alcohol problem/addiction.

Many scientists have rightly termed alcoholism as a disease that largely affects the brain and its neurochemistry. It leads to loss of control, self-worth/esteem, and self-ostracism from society.

Some symptoms of alcohol addiction

If you begin to notice some changes in your friend or close colleague, but unsure if he has a drinking problem or just a “person meltdown” here are some symptoms that can help you out;

· Over-indulgence and over-dependence on Alcohol for everyday function
· Begins to self-ostracize and change his circle (heavy drinkers)
· Seems more active with alcohol present
· Avoids seeing loved ones, or begins to have a fall-out with close associates.

Moreover, you should know that most people will deny being an addict if you confront them. Therefore, it is important to employ tact and true concern when broaching the topic with them.

Is alcohol addiction deadly to my friends?

There is almost no limit to the damage over-indulgence, and total dependence of alcohol can do to a person. The most devastating of these is:

· Heart, Liver and Kidney disease

These organs can become overwhelmed with the number of toxins or alcohol they have to digest and maintain in the body system.

Other deadly effects of alcoholism include:

· Ulcers
· Diabetes complications
· Sexual problems
· Vision problems
· Increased risk of cancer.

Other culminating problems include:

· Harm to self from drinking (drunk driving, homicide, violence)
· Can lead to depression and suicide.

Is Alcoholism treatable?

Unlike catching flu or hosting a virus where special medications can overwhelm the illness, treatment from alcoholism requires more "complex" procedures. It requires dedication, support from loved ones and a lifelong commitment.

The most efficient procedures are:

· Withdrawal

It is never easy to quit any addiction suddenly. However, with professional help and discipline, your friend can overcome their addiction.
· Detoxification

Anyone who is long into the addiction will have lots of residual substances (toxic) from the "alcohol indulgence" in his system. Therefore, medications and other clinical procedures are required to purge the toxic substance from the body.

· Rehabilitation

It can take anywhere between 30 days to 1 year depending on how deep the addiction is. During rehab, patients learn new hobbies, undergo therapy, make new friends and reflect on the life they want to live. Rehab also helps patients to form a new resolve and strength against drugs.

· Post-rehab counselling

After rehab, the patient is prepared for reintegration into society. It involves avoiding relapse, starting a career, seeking alternative means to alcohol.

Wrapping Up

People who suffer from addiction already feel "low", and wouldn't want you to be critical of them. They also need support and love from loved ones; visit them in rehab, take courses with them, help them financially.

Alcoholism is not permanent where there are a will and determination from the alcoholic.


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